THE PACE OF CHANGE MUST INTENSIFY IN THE CONSUMER INTEREST
The Panel’s latest annual Tracker Survey results show high levels of satisfaction amongst users of legal services. 83% are satisfied with the outcome of their legal matter and 80% of consumers are satisfied with the service they purchased. Trust in lawyers has also increased marginally.
But the story behind these figures reveals little movement towards greater consumer choice as set out in the recent Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) report on the sector. People using legal services still rely too heavily on reputation to decide on their provider (75%). A key hindrance appears to be the lack of pertinent information to help consumers make informed decisions. The research found that only 2% of consumers use comparison websites. A small number of consumers shop around (27%) and only 6% of consumers find pricing information on providers’ websites. It is also concerning to note that the use of fixed fees has declined amongst solicitors and barristers.
It is now essential that the frontline regulators and the Legal Services Board work robustly towards implementing the CMA’s transparency remedies.
Key research findings:
- Fixed fees have increased for licensed conveyancers from to 73% from 71% in 2016.
- The use of fixed fees has however decreased amongst solicitors and barristers from 61% and 37% in 2016 to 57% and 31% in 2017 respectively.
Reputation and price (75% and 69%) remain the most important choice factors for consumers.
- Local firms remain the most used service providers in many areas of law.
- 49% of dissatisfied consumers did not make a complaint.
- Trust in lawyers has slightly increased this year to 45% from 42% in 2016.
Dr Jane Martin, Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, said:
“The good news is that levels of satisfaction are high for many elements of service delivery.
But our concern remains that a satisfactory service may only be available to those who can successfully navigate the sector. Questions should also be asked about readiness to complain when things go wrong. The market appears to be at a standstill in important areas which are crucial for consumers’ decision making and competition. It is clear that
there is a need for more information. We will continue to work with the LSB and the other front line regulators in the consumer interest.
Kindly shared by Legal Services Consumer Panel